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  • In Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd v. V. Babu & Ors, the Kerala High Court held that those filing a claim u/s 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, have to prove not only the driver's or rider's negligence but also that the person sustaining injuries in the motor accident died due to the injuries. 
  • The Court further held that since the grant of compensation is based on the principle of fault liability, it is the petitioner's burden to produce evidence to support the allegations raised.
  • The background of this case is that a woman, while travelling on a bike with her brother, met with an accident and succumbed to her injuries. 
  • Her husband and sons filed an application u/s 166 contending that it was due to the brother's negligence that the accident was caused and therefore, claimed compensation from the brother, the owner and the appellant insurer of the bike.
  • The counsel for the appellant contended that the allegations are false.
  • The appellant further contended that the woman died of natural death and not due to injuries.
  • Furthermore, since the police had not registered a case for over 3 months, and no postmortem certificate was ever produced, it can be said that the vehicular accident was not the cause of the woman's death.
  • The Ld. Court observed that in a claim under section 166 of MV Act, it is the petitioner's burden to prove negligence on the part of tortfeasors.
  • Additionally, in case of death, it must be shown that the death was a direct consequence of the accident.
  • The Court also noted that the evidence presented by the claimants is not sufficient to discharge the burden of proof. 
  • The wound certificate produced by the respondents does not show any negligence on the part of the victim's brother. Furthermore, instead of the witnesses present during the incident, the husband was examined whose evidence is mere hearsay.
  • It was held by the Court that since no solid evidence was produced against the appellants, they can not be compelled to pay for compensation.
  • Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal.
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